Esther Koontz
Esther Koontz Wins Early Court Case in Kansas
February 2018 Monthly Update

In This Issue
Esther Koontz Wins Early Court Decision
Ahed Tamimi Trial Begins Behind Closed Doors
BDS Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
MC USA Investment Consultation
Three Important New Reads in 2018
Join Other MC USA Churches to Become HP-Free
Read More

Esther Koontz’ Case Wins Preliminary Injunction Against Kansas Law
On January 30, 2018, in a case testing First Amendment free-speech rights, Kansas Mennonite Esther Koontz and the American Civil Liberties Union won an early court decision in its law suit against Koontz who lost a contract with the State of Kansas because she would not sign a statement pledging not to participate in any Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) actions. U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Crabtree wrote the following in his decision: “This ruling should serve as a warning to government officials around the country that the First Amendment prohibits the government from suppressing participation in political boycotts.” Koontz’ refusal to sign was informed in part by the MC USA Orlando decision last summer to boycott consumer products that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Ahed Tamimi’s Trail Begins Behind Closed Doors
Oren_Ahed_Trial-1                          Mohammed Tamimi

Ahed Tamimi arriving at her trial        Mohammed Tamimi after surgery

Seventeen-year-old Palestinian protestor, Ahed Tamimi, one of hundreds of Palestinian children imprisoned by Israel, began her trial at Ofer military prison near Jerusalem on January 15, 2018. She asked that the hearing be open to the public and the press, but the military judge refused and began the trial behind closed doors. The judge insisted that he was acting in the best interest of Ahed, but her attorney, Gaby Lasky, protested vehemently, saying the family wants an open trial: “The court decided what is best for the court, and not what is good for Ahed…We believe that this is an indictment solely created to deter Ahed and other Palestinian youth.” Ahed’s family was able to remain in the courtroom and her father, Bassem, was heard shouting out to Ahed: “Stay strong, stay strong.” Ahed is imprisoned because she slapped an Israeli soldier in the face on December 15, 2017, after another soldier shot her 15-year-old cousin, Mohammed, in the face with a rubber-coated steel pellet. Mohammed required surgery to remove part of his skull. Ahed’s trial will resume on March 11, 2018. She is being held in prison for the duration of the trial.

BDS Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize
The Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement was nominated on January 31, 2018, for the Nobel Peace Prize by a Norwegian Member of Parliament. In his formal announcement, Bjørnar Moxnes stated: “Awarding this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the BDS movement would be a powerful signal, emphasizing the international community’s commitment to support a just peace for the Palestinian people… the Israeli people and all people in the Middle East – and the world at large.” To sign the Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) BDS Nobel Peace Prize support letter, click here.

MennoPIN Participates in MC USA Investment Consultation on Israel/Palestine
In July 2017 at the Orlando MC USA convention, delegates adopted the “Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine” resolution, which included a commitment to “avoiding economic support for occupation.” On November 20, 2017, representatives from MC USA agencies and related organizations met for a consultation on investments in Israel/Palestine. You can read the report of that first consultation here.

Three Important Publications Just Out
MennoPIN wants to draw your attention to three new reads published in 2018:

  • Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations (by Ronen Bergman, Random House, January 30, 2018) – Bergman is a journalist based in Israel who probed the targeted killings of thousands of Palestinians by Israel Defense Forces.
  • Gaza: An Inquest into its Martyrdom (by Norman Finkelstein, University of California Press, January 9, 2018) – Finkelstein chronicles the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, including the eight devastating ‘operations” by Israel against Gaza’s largely defenseless population in which thousands have died and tens of thousands left homeless.
  • 50 Years of Occupation: Dispossession, Deprivation and De-Development(Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), February 12, 2018) – AIDA, a coalition of 70 international NGO’s, including Mennonite Central Committee, combined to document the decades-long strangulation of Palestinian economic prospects and human rights.

Join Other MC USA Churches and Become HP-Free
MennoPIN encourages you to join Eugene Mennonite Church, Eugene, OR and Peace Mennonite Fellowship, Claremont, CA and become HP-Free. Reach out to your pastor, church council and congregation to sign the HP-Free Church pledge, committing to not purchase Hewlett Packard computers, printers, inks, and other products until HP stops profiting from occupation and human rights violations. For more on the HP-Free Church Campaign go here.

Read More
More on the BDS movement
The Palestinian Portal Resource
HP-Free Church Campaign
Rise and Kill First, Ronen Bergman (at your favorite bookstore)
Gaza: An Inquest into its Martyrdom (at your favorite bookstore)
50 Years of Occupation

A new book by Ronen Bergman, the intelligence correspondent for the Israeli Yediot Aharonot newspaper, chronicles Israel’s ‘2,700’ assassination operations. In his book,Mr. Bergman raises moral and legal concerns provoked by state-sponsored killings.
Lord, we remember all the people who have been condemned to death by the Israeli government without a fair trial. We pray that the day will come that Israeli decision makers abandon the sword and are held accountable for their crimes. Lord in you mercy…hear our prayers. Sabeel Wave of Prayer – February 1, 2018

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